Valorant has seen a handful of small changes since the release of its closed beta, but the game’s recent patch is its biggest yet.
Valorant’s patch notes are long and detailed, covering everything from the walking accuracy of the Vandal Assault Rifle to the material of one specific box on Split. The biggest changes in Valorant’s 0.5 patch are several nerfs to Sage’s Slow Orb and Cypher’s Cyber Cage, as well both buffs and nerfs to specific accuracy values for the game’s rifles.
The result is a more balanced experience for Valorant players overall, and that’s a difficult thing to achieve for a game with so many abilities. Sadly, the patch has no changes for Raze’s unavoidable, gigantic rocket, but at least she’ll be easier to kill now as everyone starts to realize the Ares and Odin are a little OP.
Riot targeted Rifle accuracy as its focus in this patch, lowering the time it takes for both the Vandal and the Phantom to return to an accurate state after firing. In practice, this means that tap firing is much more viable than it was before when it took longer for the weapons to recover. At the same time, Riot increased the max inaccuracy value rifles have while a player walks, meaning both main rifles will be less accurate while moving.
Both weapons also saw individual changes. The Vandal now has less side-to-side recoil than before the patch, fixing what Riot says was a mistake in the values.
Expect to see way more Phantoms now that Riot has lowered the time it takes for the weapon to reach full accuracy after firing by almost half. The result is that the Phantom, while already deadly in competent hands, is now incredibly powerful and accurate almost instantaneously.
Similar changes were also made to both the BullDog’s automatic fire mode and the Guardian.
Taking a page out of Valve’s book, Riot decreased the price and upped the accuracy on both of the game’s machine guns, making them much more accurate bullet hoses than they were before. The changes aren’t massive by any means, but they may be enough to encourage more people to use the weapons.
Players were starting to get tired of waiting out two of Sage’s Slow Orbs at a chokepoint, and apparently so was Riot. The developer lowered the duration of the healer’s area of denial ability by two seconds, meaning that her enemies will now have to wait less time before they can make their move. In a surprise nerf, Cypher’s Cage had its slow effect removed entirely.
Omen and Viper saw their smokes increase in duration and size respectively, and Riot also shipped a nerf for bunny hopping through Brimstone’s Molotov. Omen saw two other buffs that should allow him to compete with Brimstone in high-tier play. Now, the speed of the spectral assassin’s smoke is faster but comes with a five-second increase in its cooldown.
Overall, these changes should speed up round times by at least several seconds, especially with one slow nerfed and another removed wholesale. Cypher is now much more information-focused that he was before, and his clutch factor is lowered considerably from what it was before the nerf. The update shipped with an increased recharge rate to his camera if it’s destroyed by enemy players, so he’s actually worse at his main role now.
Finally on the character side, Riot made several changes to the cost of character abilities this patch in an attempt to even out their cost versus their impact:
Split was a massive problem for attacking teams prior to this patch, but Riot’s work on the map might swing the balance back too far in their favor. The game’s blue barriers have been shifted forward almost across the board, meaning that attackers now start closer to sites than they did before. These changes, plus the nerf to Sage’s slow, mean that attacking teams are going to have a much easier time executing onto sites than they did before. Previously, taking the map’s top mid area, along with A main, meant a solid two to three-person commitment was required. It also asked players to use their abilities in concert in order to take map control in those areas.
Now, it’s less necessary. The areas that once required solid teamwork between the team’s area-focused characters now requires little more than the presence of an attacker. With defender’s barriers pulled back towards their spawn, Riot has awarded an attacker’s ability to exist with free map control on Split. The good news is that the developers have fixed many of the spots where Cypher’s camera could glitch into Split’s geometry, quashing the exploit quickly and cleanly. The same happened across the board with other maps, as well.
The patch also went live with an entire host of quality of life improvements and bug fixes, the majority of which you can read about here on the game’s official blog. There was no fix for the ability to fire off double the amount of rounds for Valorant’s Bucky shotgun using a special reload technique, but since shotguns saw no changes with 0.5, Riot may intend to leave the ability in as a feature.
Despite the changes, all of the ability interactions in WIN.gg’s video covering some of the awesome ways players can use Valorant’s abilities still work. You can check out that video below.